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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Weaving a Handspun (mostly) Blanket

This adventure started with a couple thousand yards of gray Romney-Mohair 2-ply, dyed blue.  Read here about the dyeing adventure.  I could have made a sweater but couldn't summon the Knitting Muse.  I decided to weave a blanket instead, and give it to my son for Christmas.  He's a doctoral student at the U of Iowa and is grateful for any and all free stuff.  I knew that no matter how it turned out he'd like it.

My big loom is only 35" wide so I calculated for twice the finished length at a fairly loose sett of 8 ends per inch.  I figured on a lot of shrinkage during finishing and wanted the blanket to retain a drapey, soft feel.  I dyed white sport weight Bartlettyarn in three warp groups using the kettle method and two colors - scarlet red and royal blue.

After the loom was dressed it only took a few sessions to do the actual weaving.  When I cut the piece from the loom it was 15 feet long and 34" wide.  I zig-zagged the raw ends (which had a wool header)  and washed the whole thing in the washing machine, delicate cycle, with Woolite.  Then I dried it on the FLUFF cycle in the dryer.  It was nicely fulled when I took it out. 

I cut the blanket in two and once again zigzagged the edges with black silk thread,  and then  seamed the two pieces side-by-side by hand with weft yarn in an overcast stitch.  The last thing I had to decide was how to finish the ends.

I thought about making a binding of some kind but the blanket fabric is quite thick and I didn't want a "hard" edge.  After a couple of trial runs I decided on a blanket stitch hem along the turned-over edge.

Here is the finished blanket on my studio floor.

And here it is, on my son.  (I sewed the gnome hat by special request.  He's an English Lit scholar and said that if Scrooge has a nightcap, he wanted one too.)

I'm glad I took the risk on a BIG PROJECT!  The finished size of the blanket is 62" wide and 74" long. It is fuzzy and has a nice drape, and is WARM!  Best of all, it was Made By Hand, With Love.


  1. Great post with such good pictures to explain. Wonderful blanket!

  2. Wow, very impressive - great inspiration for me to get my big floor loom set up!